Hands-On – Forza 5 and the Xbox One Controller

xbox stand rage 2013

rAge on a Saturday is a totally different animal to the Friday experience. If Friday is a quiet, respectful dinner at your girlfriend’s parents house, Saturday is the all-night party you threw when they were out of town.

The LAN was fully underway, the hall was thick with people and the DGL intensity level was cranked up a few notches.

I fought my way through the masses to get my hands on the Xbox One, to see exactly what we’ll be missing out on here in South Africa for the next year or so.

The first game available when I arrived was Forza Motorsport 5, a serious-business racer that I hadn’t had a whole lot of experience with. What I was really interested in however was feeling that new controller.

It was awesome. Seriously, Microsoft has nailed it with the new controller. It felt comfortable, sturdy and everything was easy to reach; it felt like I could play for hours without so much as flexing my fingers.

The best part by far though was the tactile feedback. The vibration is more focused now; the triggers themselves actually vibrate independently, rather than the whole thing just shaking in your hands.

I bet every one of the people in this photo could kick my ass in a race.
I bet every one of the people in this photo could kick my ass in a race.

It’s not just your standard vibration either (which I always thought didn’t add all that much on the previous-gen stuff), it was much smarter than that. When I accelerated I could feel a low vibration that escalated with the revving of the engine, it really felt like you had the power of the car in your hands. When I did a powerslide around a corner, I could actually feel the tyres catching on the road. The vibration changed to a kind of stuttered rumble, you could feel the car straining to grip.

It really is rather incredible, and adds a whole other layer of immersion to the game. I can’t wait to see what they can do with it in other titles, but Forza has really done a fantastic job with it.

As for the game itself, the little I played of it was excellent. It’s more of a realistic racer than the arcade style of Need for Speed, so if doing handbrake turns around corners is your thing, it’s probably not the game for you. This game really requires some skill to master, but that doesn’t mean a noob like me can’t pick it up and have a blast with it.

There were a range of powerful cars and detailed tracks to choose from, and the graphics were clearly making use of the next-gen tech. Everything was crisper, more detailed and smoother than you would expect on the 360. It was especially evident in the more demanding effects such as reflections and shadows.

If you are going to rAge this year, I really recommend you give Forza a try, even if you have no interest in racing games whatsoever, just to get a feel of that controller’s feedback.